Full Court Press

A competitors mise en place

History was made last weekend. You may not have noticed, much less cared but I’m here to mention an event that took place and is worth celebrating.

Those friendly with folks in the industry of coffee, or actually in it themselves, are well aware that it has some lines drawn in the sand. Delicate sensitivities are easy to come by when growing your business can often (but not always) come at the expense of someone else.  Someone you know and heck, might even like.

That said however, we are all bound by a common thread, none more so than those in the inner circle. The keeners, the lifers, the ones that tried, like the Godfather to get out but couldn’t.

“Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in!”

Michael Corleone and I have both uttered that same line.

The tie that binds in coffee is that we love us some good bean and we love us some good brew.

That love has seen an industry intensely refined over the last few years. Techniques and methods of brewing stropped like a straight razor to a finely honed edge. An insatiable interest to realize everything a coffee or brew method has to offer-and I do mean everything.

And so on a sensational sunny Sunday afternoon, inside Revolver (event sponsor), under the gracious and considered eye of their GM John Giannakos, the first Canadian event of it’s kind took place-the 2012 BC Aeropress Championships.

What the huh?

The Aeropress, for those who haven’t got off the couch in a while, is one of the newish, by the cup, brew methods currently in vogue. It is a creation of the folks at Aerobie (also kind sponsors of the event) and can be used to create a bespoke cup for those with the time and inclination to prepare not just any cup but an intentional one. Can I have an Amen?

The Aeropress brews a damn fine cup with very little fuss but also invites experimentation and tweaking for those who can’t help themselves, are Scandinavian or who are just malcontent with merely good with a yen for something that little bit better.

How much better? Indeed wouldn’t you like to know.  The answer to that brings us again to the night in question and the BCAC.

The rules are simple: One coffee used by all competitors. Eight minutes to prepare your brew. Three judges.  Two rounds of heads up style competing-each participant submits their best brew from some signature combination of: water temperature, dose, agitation, steep time and beyond…Best cup moves on. The final round consisted of three competitors, slightly more time to brew but again the merciless dropping of the axe-best cup wins. No excuses. No re-dos. Last one standing carries the heavy blessing of representing Canada at the World Aeropress Championships in Portland on April 20th, 2012. Add to that the associated swagger and street cred and, oh yes, one more thing.

My precious.

From a limited run and not available for purchase, there exists a 14K gold dipped permanent filter for the Aeropress designed by Able Brewing (gracious event sponsor), the same inspired genius behind the Kone. Only winners of national Aeropress competitions can dream of owning such outrageousness. For the rest of us plebes, we must make do with the stainless steel model which is still an obvious (and favourite) upgrade from the paper filters that come included in the box.

The competition brought people from the Island, the Interior and of course from right down the street. People you might even know. But really, how well do you know them if you couldn’t imagine them drag racing, head to head, their finest Aeropress brewing technique in a closed café in Gastown last Sunday night?

Obviously not well.

The event was a ravishing success. The organization was watertight and what needed to happen, happened on time. The vibe was warm and welcoming. Industry gang colours were refreshingly absent. A shared love of the game was the thread that bound.

Despite some gratuitous grinding of the hips, and one of the competitors showing some leg (a bit much for my tastes) no one got hurt. Physically. Emotionally, I’m still a little shaken.

The event was made more memorable by Azlan Grave’s (of Black Crowe Brewing and a Revolver Barista) Vanilla Porter and Citra Pale Ale (Yum) and some home made ice cream brought by Sheryl Decterow (also a Revolver Barista) that was dolled out-affogatto’s for everyone. There was penny candy, conversation and of course heated yet amicable competition and ruthless judging-as I am a witness.

In the end, though not an easy decision, a top three was arrived at with Cody Smith of Black and White Coffee Roasters getting it done with his deft execution and unique Aeropress brewing recipe.  Congratulations and well done. We of the BC coffee consortium wish you well and hope you can do some damage on the world stage in Portland.

If you couldn’t make it to this year’s event-you were missed.

Don’t let it happen again. Save the date for next year.

 

*For more on the event see some beautiful pictures and prose from Scout Magazine corraspondent Rommy Ghaly

 

2 Responses to Full Court Press

  1. greg says:

    So, what your saying is that Cody will be brewing his coffee through a golden filter?Where can I get some Black and White coffee?

    Greg on Vancouver Island

  2. Aaron says:

    Greg,

    Thank-you for your comment.
    I’m not saying Greg will be doing any such thing with his gold filter. He might just leave it in the wrapper so that it’s surface isn’t sullied by oily fingers…you’ll have to ask him (nicely) if he might consider making your coffee through his battle won prize.

    As for where you can find him and his coffee-you’ll have to ask him directly. My understanding is that he is no longer at the Farmer’s Market he once was. Where he’ll be next? Drop him a line.

    Let us know if he brews you a coffee through his new filter. 🙂

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